Life term for fatal rape bid accused

New Delhi, Jan. 10: A man who repeatedly stabbed a 17-year-old in her private parts, fatally damaging her intestines, when she resisted his attempt to rape her has escaped the hangman's noose.

But Maheboobkhan Azamkhan Pathan will have to rot in jail "throughout his life", a Supreme Court bench said while ruling on the assault that almost matched the brutality of the December 16 bus gang rape. The gang rape victim, who too had suffered intestinal injuries after being tortured with an iron rod, died two weeks later of internal injuries.

Tuesday's ruling came in the backdrop of rising clamour for death penalty for rapists, but the two-judge bench said Pathan's crime didn't fall in the category of rarest of rare. Justices H.L. Dattu and C.K. Prasad, however, said Pathan "shall remain in jail throughout his life", subject to remission, if any, by the state government concerned.

The prosecution had said Pathan and a fellow burglar, Wasim Khan, had in November 2003 forced their way into a house. After tying up the owner, his wife and other relatives, they entered his daughter's room and tried to snatch her earrings.

When she resisted, Pathan abused her and then tried to rape her. As the girl fought him, he stabbed her repeatedly before fleeing. The grievously injured teenager was taken to hospital but was declared brought dead.

In August 2008, a trial court sentenced Pathan to death. Bombay High Court upheld the verdict on December 4, 2008.

Co-accused Wasim, sentenced to life imprisonment for helping Pathan commit robbery and murder, was not charged with attempted rape.

Pathan had appealed to the apex court saying there were "several aggravating factors". His counsel pleaded for commuting the death penalty to life term. The apex court said though he had brutally killed the girl his action did not warrant a death sentence.


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